Karen Handel Is An Idiot

According to Political Insider, Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel sent out a press release warning Georgia businesses to not give out freebies (i.e. Starbucks giving free coffee) to Georgia voters today as it is against the law. She cites the following from Georgia Code (code section cited in full):

§ 21-2-570. Giving or receiving, offering to give or receive, or participating in the giving or receiving of money or gifts for registering as a voter, voting, or voting for a particular candidate

Any person who gives or receives, offers to give or receive, or participates in the giving or receiving of money or gifts for the purpose of registering as a voter, voting, or voting for a particular candidate in any primary or election shall be guilty of a felony.

So, Karen Handel, who never went to college or law school, interprets this to mean that a business cannot offer a free cup of coffee to a voter on election day? Ridiculous.

The point of this law is to prohibit candidates or groups to pay people to vote. That is not the intention of Starbucks. Their intention is to get you in the store to buy more stuff.

Does this mean that I committed a felony when I gave the new voter a ride to the polls this morning? It was a gift, was it not? And I did it because I wanted him to vote, right?

What about the “I’m a Georgia Voter” sticker I got this morning? They aren’t giving those out to people who are not voting. Is the Secretary of State violating the law as well?

If there wasn’t a doubt before, Karen Handel is an idiot. It’s a good thing for her she’s not on the ballot today.

If there are any businesses reading this today – keep on doing what you were planning on doing. If this fool tries to have you prosecuted, I’m sure there are pleny of lawyers out there who would love to represent you pro bono.


  1. tinsandwich says:

    I read this in the paper this morning and thought they had misquoted her or her office.

    She can’t be that dumb can she?

  2. Know Nothing says:

    Sorry but she isn’t an idiot as there is applicable federal law which prohibits such action. Starbucks announced therefore, that any customer asking, will get a free tall cup of coffee. Nice front page post.

  3. BlogDawg says:

    The idea that a cup of coffee would induce any person who had not otherwise planned to vote to do so is absurd.

    If we’ve learned nothing else this election cycle, its that Handel is very inventive at finding new ways to look like a fool.

    As for her keen legal skills, see the whuppings she’s taken (and the $$ she’s been costing the state) in court in the Conlon and Powell cases.

  4. Icarus says:

    All the vitriol being aimed at Karen Handel tells me she’s a much more formidable candidate for Governor than I’ve been giving her credit.

  5. odinseye2k says:

    Or the fact that she can’t run an election properly or fairly. Saxby takes a lot of lumps around here, too, and I would call his campaign anything but formidable, except to the extent that Georgia is pre-programmed to vote R.

  6. Doug Deal says:

    Decatur, what a shock, the second least reliable front page poster does not know the first thing about what he is talking about.

    Starbuck’s promotion was to give VOTERS free coffee, which is clearly a violation of every election law in pretty much every jurisdiction in every part of the state. No person may be offered any form of compensation or freebie for voting. Starbucks has since changed the promotion to give a free cup of coffee to anyone, since that would not be illegal.

    Try to bone up on that reading comprehension thing.

  7. jsm says:

    Beat her up for following the letter of the law, why don’t you?

    Goodness, maybe the Starbucks thing doesn’t address the “spirit” of the law, but the statute’s text is pretty explicit. I admire her for doing what is right.

    Democrats apparently think it’s okay to obey the law only when it seems like a good idea to them–you know, emotion over principle.

  8. Chris says:

    Its pretty clear that the race for 2010 has begun, and the left is attempting to take down the strongest candidate the GOP could nominate.

    Tell me Decaturguy, when do the vicious and false rumor begin about Karen’s children?

  9. Decaturguy says:

    Karen Handel is giving out FREE stickers only to VOTERS as they leave the polls. Why is that not an illegal gift accorging to her own warped interpretation to that statute? Why is it not an illegal gift for me to give the guy down the street a ride to the voting precinct? He did not compensate me for the gas I used? Did I just commit a felony?

  10. jsm says:

    No, unless the ride in the car is a “reward” for voting. I bet you could get one of those stickers without voting, too. I saw kids getting them.

  11. Chris says:

    Funny, for a name like DecaturGuy, I wouldn’t expect you to be voting in N. Fulton. And Karen gave you that sticker. Impressive. I was given one by the poll worker with the Gwinnett Elections office. To get a sticker directly from the Secretary of State must be an honor.

  12. Decaturguy says:


    Christ, the Secretary of State runs elections in this state and her office distributed those stickers to the precincts throughout the state to give out to voters. So, yes, she did give out those stickers.


    Who are you to determine that the stickers have “no commercial value?” If you want to follow the “letter of the law,” in all due respect, that is not what the statute says.


    Why would I have given him a ride if I didn’t want him to vote. I had already voted earlier. Maybe Karen should prosecute me for my gift to a voter.

  13. Clayton says:

    polling workers are also giving out those stickers to children and just about anyone else who wants one. They are clearly not exclusively for people who have voted

  14. Icarus says:

    I think I could get a court ruling that the stickers have no commercial value a lot quicker than you could get one that says Karen Handel is an Idiot.

    I’m also looking forward to Andre being back soon. I miss Andre V. Decaturguy.

  15. kcordell says:

    A lot of parents had their children with them this morning. Every child was given a sticker and every child was grinning from ear to ear. A great lesson in democracy.

  16. Andre Walker says:

    I’m sure this excerpt from the Bloomberg News article that drjay pointed us to will have no bearing on the opinion DecaturGuy has of Karen Handel, but I’ll post it anyway:

    “Federal law makes no distinction between cups of coffee or a raffle ticket versus a buy-the-vote kind of thing on the other end of the spectrum,” [Washington Secretary of State spokesman David]Ammons said today in an interview. “We just told Starbucks, essentially, no good deed goes unpunished. We appreciate the gesture, but it’s forbidden.”Source: Bloomberg.com, “Starbucks Free Java Violates Election Law, State Says”, November 3, 2008]

    Like Handel, the Washington Secretary of State is a Republican, which probably would earn him the consternation of folks like DecaturGuy, but in Washington State, Secretary of State Reed has earned praise from Democrats and been accused of not being “Republican enough” by members of his own party [Source: Seattle Times, “Republican Reed faces GOP wrath over recount decisions”, January 3, 2005].

    To echo what has already been said in this comment thread, since both Karen Handel and Washington Secretary of State Sam Reed are following federal law, using DecaturGuy’s logic, the Washington Secretary of State and any other elected official who might decide to enforce this particular federal law are “fools” and “idiots.”

  17. Decaturguy says:

    Andre, I usually reserve the terms “fool” or “idiot” exclusively for you, but today, yes, I’m calling them stupid.

    Try to prosecute someone for this. And, nobody has been able to answer why me giving someone a free ride to the polls is not considered an illegal gift under this preposterous interpretation.

    Grift, I think giving someone a free beer is illegal anyway.

  18. drjay says:

    UPDATE: Starbucks halted its plan to give voters free coffee Tuesday after concerns surfaced that the promotion could violate election laws.

    After launching the promotion with great fanfare, Starbucks spokeswoman Valerie O’Neil said in an email late Monday that the coffee chain changed its plans. “To ensure we are in compliance with election law, we are extending our offer to all customers who request a tall brewed coffee,” O’Neil said in an email.

    this is from the wsj blog i linked earlie–so according to this starbucks themselves are idiots as well…

  19. Andre Walker says:

    DecaturGuy, I fully expected my comments to elicit the kind of response from you that includes childish name-calling and petty insults.

    I do have a question though…

    …Since the topic of this discussion is a federal law, that means that lawmakers from across the nation voted in favor of this particular piece of legislation and that the President signed the bill into law.

    Are you saying that all these lawmakers and the president who signed the bill are “fools” and “idiots” for A.) introducing the legislation; B.) giving the legislation a hearing in whatever committee it was assigned to; C.) voting the legislation out of committee; D.) placing the bill on the rules calendar for debate and a vote; E.) moving the bill over to the other house where steps A through D are done all over again; and finally, F.) sending the bill to the President for his signature?

    How is it possible to label the two individuals who are simply enforcing the law as “fools” and “idiots” (California has this law on the books too by the way) without also labeling the lawmakers in Georgia, Washington state, the United States Congress and California the same for passing the bill in the first place.

    My suggestion would be that before we start jumping down the throats of the elected officials who are charged with enforcing the laws, we take a good, long, hard look at the folks who passed the laws in the first place.

  20. Clayton says:

    Free coffee at Starbucks for breakfast: check.
    Free chicken at Shane’s for lunch: check.
    Wearing a voting sticker: negative.
    Asked if I voted: negative.

    Closing this thread: check.

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